20 April 2007

Tiruvannamalai Shops

I'm on my way into town (the Big City!) to take care of a few errands. My autorickshaw first stops at a local petrol station for a fillup and I'm surprised to see girls nowadays working at the petrol bunk. On a personal level I don't like to see girls/ladies working at such a place as it exposes them to a very rough sort of gent. But, I suspect the owner of the station probably finds it easier to control staff comprised of young girls then men and, on his part, its definitely 'cheaper' to hire ladies!

This is Big Street, one of the main arterial roads of Tiruvannamalai. In the case of most ancient Temple towns in India, the Temple is the heartline and hub around which the city develops. If you want to find out more about the development of this Temple town check out previous posting.

I'm at the corner of Big Street and Car Street, the two major thoroughfares of Tiruvannamalai. At the corner a family rests during their shopping excursion.

Below, a better view of the Big Street-Car Street junction. To city dwellers, this spot might seem innocuous but this is a hazardous spot for both drivers and pedestrians. No rules apply; its a case of just scuttling across as fast as possible. Even drivers experienced on the roadways of such major metropolitian areas as New York, Paris and London, find driving in India a hair-raising experience. To read a 'satirical' report of the 'Indian Rules of the Road', you can check out this earlier posting.

Here are kerosene one-top cookers which used to be the sort of cooker most commonly used even as recently as 5-8 years ago. Nowadays lots of households have switched over to cylinder gas and are using 2-top cookers. A lesser amount of families still cook with deadwood and dried thorny bushes on outside fires.

The below photograph is of a nice, bustling sidestreet filled with interesting shops.

There are lots of food stalls at the side of the road. Here a lady is selling a ragi dish (a type of grain) which is very cooling on hot summer days. However the condiments of pepper and different spicey chutneys (also available at the stall) will probably heat things up nicely!

Finally made it to one of my intended ports of call; the watch repair shop to get a new battery put into my watch.

Next a local pharmaucetical shop to get prescription ointments for both myself and one of my dogs.

There are always plenty of shops available at Temple towns ready to nicely frame holy pictures (or family portraits) for displaying on the wall.

A sadhu taking a tea break. There are numerous sadhus throughout Tiruvannamalai but definitely Arunachaleswarar Temple is particularly favoured by many sannyasins and sadhus.

Because of rampant housing development going on throughout Tiruvannamalai, there is also the requisite drilling and installation of private water borewells at new homes. Although a Municipal water system exists in many areas (on alternate days), those that can afford the cost of approximately Rs.20,000/- (U.S.$450) to drill a private borewell at their land, will do so.

Previously, after the well had been drilled by independent contractors, heavyweight plastic lengths of pipe about 8 feet in length would be joined together and stuck into the well. Nowadays a lightweight pipe is used that comes in one length and can be easily pulled out of the well in case of repair. These huge black pipes outside the store in the below photograph are the new one-length, lightweight plastic piping for borewells.

The next photograph is of a portable shop selling all kinds of metal pieces. Recently there has been talk about conglomerates such as 'K-Mart' coming into India. Nowadays, in Inda, most stores are privately owned, so the entry of such a giant conglomerate will definitely radically affect the shopping landscape of this country. Probabaly 'portable' stores (like this metal one) will be the first to get 'squeezed out' by big conglomerates.

The below photograph is interesting because it shows how shops encroach onto the pavement and roadway. Not that anybody cares too much, but every so often the Municipality gets the idea of putting in new drains or widening roads and suddenly bulldozers appear and knock down anything 'encroaching' onto pavements and roadways. In such cases, shops and stores quickly take their wares off pavements and wait until the Municipality has completed its schemes. Once everything quietens down, the shops put all their products back in their original spots.

Sometimes stores even make permanent (unauthorised) extensions to their shops. In such cases bulldozers come out in force. A couple of years ago the Municipality decided to widen the streets on some arterial roads; after the bulldozers had finished knocking down all illegal encroachments, the town of Tiruvannamalai looked like a war zone. The place was a shambles. It took a long time to get back to normal. Nice to see shops are stretching out again!

Down below a shop selling all kinds of metal utensils and cheap metal doors. Alot of the items you can see are actually hand-welded or hand beaten; there are still plenty of small cottage industries in Tiruvannamalai.

The flowers on sale are jasmine and kankambaram. Most purchasers will make garlands for use either in puja or to decorate ladies' hair. The umbrellas are a protection against the sun, not rain!

In the last photograph I am on Thiruvoodal Street at the flower and vegetable market, making some last minute purchases before I head back home. As always there is the constant reminder of Arunachala in the background.


Divyakka said...

Wow, what brilliant colors and gorgeous photos! It is like I'm there in person. Stop, you are making me terribly homesick!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for special mention about traffic in tiruvannamalai and generally india